What’s the best DJ software in 2016? Well, that depends. If you’re trying to become a DJ there are a lot of options available on the market and it can be overwhelming deciding on which one is best suited to you.
If you’re an experienced DJ, the idea of switching to new gear or software can really stress you out – you’ve already gotten used to your workflow.
Whether you use physical hardware or are just looking to mix using your laptop or tablet, there’s great options for you to choose from when picking the right DJ software. In this article we breakdown what we think are the best options when it comes to software for Djs.
Hardware vs. Software DJs
If you’re talking about cost-cutting, convenience and flexibility then going solo-software makes complete and total sense. All you need is a computer or a tablet and your music library.
But there’s something to be said about the old art of turntablism – whether you use vinyl or cd decks. The tactile feel of mixing records together adds another dimension to your mixes.
Now, don’t get us wrong – we’re not here advocating on one side or the other. Both have advantages and disadvantages, but both also deliver in terms of getting the job done.
10 years ago the debate would’ve been over whether CD decks were as good as Vinyl decks. The software vs. hardware debate in the DJ world is just another iteration of that.
What Really Matters When DJing
There’s nothing wrong with doing either. What really matters is the output – can you produce something that is fun, exciting, unique and makes people move?
That’s the true test of the DJ – and that has all to do with how you DJ, not what you DJ with.
So without further ado, here’s the best DJ software for computers/laptops, tablets and phones and for the hardware/gear heads.
Read through our reviews below and leave your comments on what you feel is the best choice. We’d love to hear from you. And be sure to share this article with your friends if you found it useful.
Best DJ Software for “In-The-Box” Mixing
Some people are die-hard physical gear enthusiasts. Others bridge the gap with software and a hardware controller added on. Yet there’s a whole segment of people who prefer to just use software alone to mix – whether live or pre-recorded.
Here’s our take on the best “in-the-box” DJ software solutions.
Magix Digital DJ2
Digital DJ2 is a nice little program for an entry-level DJ that wants to get their feet yet, but not drop hundreds of dollars on equipment or software.
It’s not very powerful or flexible but offers you all the basic stuff you’ll need to make a good mix. And at only $50, it won’t break the bank and still allow you to upgrade if you feel like you need something more.
It offers 2-deck mixing (other software options give you a lot more), some cool effects and is compatible with both Mac and PC. One of the cool features of the software is that it automatically recommends songs similar to your existing set if you need a quick additional couple of tracks.
Here’s a rundown:
- Two deck mixing (optional hardware compatibility)
- Select songs from iTunes library or own music collection
- Drag-and-drop interface
- Automatic music finder technology selects similar songs for you
- 8 slot sampler w/ library + add your own samples
Atomix VirtualDJ Pro
VirtualDJ Pro is – like the name (and price) suggests – a professional piece of software with all the bells and whistles you’ll need. Unlike DigitalDJ2 above, this software offers you up to 99 virtual decks to mix with.
Although you’ll probably never mix with 99 decks, the flexibility is what matters.
With ReWire, you can plug it into a DAW (digital audio workstation) and get really crazy with your performances, using your own beats made on the fly, etc. It features a great audio engine under the hood and a ton of cool features like an enhanced sampler.
And though the price-tag is hefty, there’s a subscription option that will let you try out the software for much cheaper. This software is also PC and Mac compatible.
Here’s a rundown:
Price: $299.99 one-time or $19/monthly subscription
- Instant beat-matching
- Audio line-in’s for controller use
- Private mix previewing
- Enhanced sampler
- Pro effects
- Audio + Video editors
Best DJ Software for Mixing with Hardware Controllers
Although VirtualDJ and DigitalDJ2 do have hardware controller support, they’re definitely not your best options when it comes to that hands on feel you’re looking for.
The two best options on the market today are from serious heavy hitters in the DJ industry. When it comes to hardware and software integration that is seamless and pro-level, these are the only two options as far as we’re concerned.
Here are the two best software options for DJs who want to use hardware too.
Serato Scratch Live w/ RANE SL 2/3/4
This is the grand-daddy of them all and probably the most well-known software/hardware bundle for professional DJs.
Although you have to have your own decks (either CDs or Vinyl), you’ll be able to integrate them into perfectly with Serato using their patented vinyl or digital controller discs and included software.
When you buy Scratch Live, you get an additional hardware audio interface that acts as the bridge between your laptop and your hardware decks. And the software itself comes with a wide range of pro features that can make your mixes absolutely spectacular if used correctly.
Serato also offers their very own hardware DJ mixer – which is quite pricey – but well worth it considering how it integrates directly with their software. But you don’t have to use their mixer if you don’t want to. The audio interface (i.e. Rane SL) is a necessity though.
Here’s the rundown:
Price: $499.99 – $899.99
- USB Audio Interface included
- 104db Dynamic Range w/ 24-bit 44.1khz/48khz resolution (super high audio quality)
- Aux inputs/outputs for live mixing and expansions
- Auto beat matching
- Includes 12” records or CDs for controlling audio through vinyl/cd turntables
- Mac and PC compatible
- Studio-grade pre-amps and effects
- Most popular “pro” product on the market
Native Instruments Traktor Scratch A6/A10
Although not as popular as Serato Scratch Live, Traftor Pro is a professional grade DJ hardware/software platform that delivers just as much as its rival.
Native Instruments is a great company that specializes in hardware/software integrations for music production and DJing. They’re the team that brought us the now infamous Maschine hardware controller for music production.
With Traktor Pro 2 they’re taking aim at Serato’s flagship product, and they’ve done a great job. The software allows you to use 4 virtual decks in the box, looping and cueing functions and a really cool feature called STEMS, that allows for really creative mixing.
To get the most out of Traktor Pro, you’re going to want to use their proprietary hardware controllers, but it’s not a necessity. You can use any turntables and mixer as long as you have the time-coded vinyl/cds loaded up and are connected to their audio interface. It’s very similar to Serato in the way it works.
The major advantages of Traktor are the higher quality audio, four virtual decks and ability to use STEMS – which are full song tracks broken down by instrument so you can get really creative with your mixes.
The main difference between the A6 and A10 versions is the number of inputs/outputs you get on the audio interface.
Here’s the rundown:
Price: $299.99 – $499.99
- Up to 4 virtual decks
- Onboard effects
- 24 bit 96khz audio resolution
- Mac and PC compatible
- Auto beat-matching
- Includes Traktor Pro 2.5 software
- Includes Traktor Audio 10 pro audio interface
Best DJ Software for iOS and Android Phones/Tablets
So you don’t want to mix on your laptop, and you definitely don’t want to lug around hardware. I mean, you’ve got a damn-near-full-computer right in your pocket everyday! Why not be able to turn-up everywhere you go, right?
You’re in luck, because there are a few great options for mobile DJ software that sport all the stuff you’ll need to rock a party right. Although they won’t be as powerful and flexible as the hardware/software combos, they’ll come close to giving every aspiring or entry-level DJ what they need.
Here’s our take on the best DJ apps for smartphones and tablets.
Algoriddim Djay 2 or Djay Pro
This is a pretty great piece of mobile DJing software. Algoriddim has really cornered the market on iOS and Android friendly DJ apps. With full Spotify integration (yup, you heard that right), and a drum machine it’s a real contender with the high-end DJ software we’ve discussed here.
The software is made for both beginners and professionals, with features that make it ideal for each type of user. And if you’re worried about the interface being hard to use on an iphone or ipad screen, don’t worry. They’ve got multiple views so you can access a single deck, both decks or any other of the software’s various layers.
If you’re on the iPad you’re going to want to go for the more industrial version – Djay Pro, but you can get Djay 2 (the more stripped down version) for iPad, iPhone, and Android devices (even Apple Watch!). It looks and works a lot like the other heavy-hitters we’ve mentioned here.
Here’s the rundown:
Price: $1.39 (Djay 2) or $27.99 (Djay Pro)
- Spotify and iTunes integration
- Automix and beatmatching with HD Waveforms
- Looping and Cue Points
- On-board effects and sampler
- Harmonic Match
- Hardware Support
- Mix Video + Audio (Pro only)